I'm new to turning and I'm looking to turn some chisel handles, but I want them all to look the same.

Are there any printable online templates that anyone knows of? Is there anyway I can create my own?

  • 1
    For turning chisels you might want to deliberately have some (or all) of them different in some way. Many turners do this for a couple of reasons, including the main practical one that you soon learn to unconsciously reach for a specific tool just from glancing at the handle. Another might be simply to use up available 'scantlings' of nice wood! Shame to waste a nice bit of something a bit special (purpleheart, osage orange, ironwood, pecan) because it's too thin for other purposes, but perfect for spindle turning.
    – Graphus
    Commented May 18, 2019 at 5:24

1 Answer 1


A quick search for lathe turning tool handles presents a number of links but no real results for templates. Making a template is rather straightforward.

Create a profile of the handle shape you wish. You can view others' work to determine what looks pleasant and functional and use that as a starting point.

Create a pencil sketch on paper to represent the shape of your handle. Do so at actual size and make comparisons to your selected image during the process. You need only to create half of the shape, but you'll find that your sketch will be easier to appreciate if done as a complete shape.

Once you are satisfied with the sketch, mark the centerline and fold or cut your paper in half. This should be transferred to heavier stock, something that will hold up to multiple uses. My practice with templates is to apply rubber cement or glue stick to the paper when applying it to the heavier stock.

Cut away the inside of the template from the heavier stock. You can use this to "shadow" your work piece to determine areas to be cut.

The above method is somewhat cumbersome and allows for some variation. You can accomplish more precise duplication with a few additional templates:

After creating the center line on your template, identify valleys and peaks on the design. Create perpendicular lines to the center line at those points. You can/should write down the distance from the center line to the valley or peak on the paper template.

During the turning process, use calipers to measure your locations and compare with the numbers you've recorded. You will get some minor variations but the results will be more precise than if you used a full length template.

One word is worth one one-thousandth of a picture:

template image 1

template image 2

template image 3

It's a bit different from my description, but the concept is sound.

Photos above courtesy LumberJocks web site.

  • Vimes, If you're lucky enough to live near a store with turning tools, try them for feel and if there's one you like, take apicture of it for reference when trying the method Fred_dot_u described. Commented Aug 21, 2019 at 16:41

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